October 2, 2014

"Qualify Driving" at Suzuke with Ayrton Senna

Watching this video I thought of all the talk about making current F1 more of a challenge for drivers... Basic aero, three pedals, a stick and super sticky tires anyone?


  1. Looks and sounds absolutely mental, which certainly can't be said of current F1...

  2. Basic aero, three pedals, a stick and super sticky tires ...

    Isn't that just Indy Car?

    Seriously though ... perhaps it's time to try something really different. Perhaps it's time to orient F1 more towards the Drivers Championship and try to draw back the constructors championship from some sort of rolling R & D facility.

    I know the constructors championship is a big deal, not only for the teams and team principles, but also for the fans, but trying to squeeze the last .00000001% of aero grip out of some obscure part at the cost of hundreds of hours of wind tunnel time is on the far side of a cost/benefit curve. Of you ask me.

    Maybe it's time to really clamp down on what the teams can do, development-wise.

    Where would, or should, all that car company/race car constructor effort go to?

    How about trying to move the constructors more into prototype racing? It's more applicable to road cars, and there's more of a canvas there for the engineers to pay with, so to speak.

    Or how about an entirely new series? Something above F1 or WEC?

    A while back Paul van Valkenburg talked up the idea (an idea that I had coincidentally come up with over beers at car club meetings) that he called Formula None. Essentially it would be an unlimited racing series focused on engineering more than anything else. The rules would essentially give teams tons of leeway: Length, height, width, weight and safety figures. That would be pretty much it. You want to run turbine engines and 9 wheels and sucker motors to generate downforce? Go right ahead.

    The one caveat: No sponsorship on the cars and no team sponsorship from non-auto companies.

    You can have lots of branding and B-to-B stuff back in the paddock, but only if its for auto related companies involved in the building of the machine; bearing manufacturers, car companies, fire suits, that sort of thing. Bye-bye Red Bull, no more Vodaphone et al.

    Sure, it's far fetched, but it is a rather interesting idea ...

    Anyway, on to a revamped Drivers Championship.

    If F1 were to go more like Indy Car or the old F5000 championship, it would definitely bias things towards the driver. If you made things simpler, as AC mentioned above, that would be a good way to go - apart from old style gated transmissions, semi-auto boxes give tons more reliability.

    I know that the FIA already mandates "boxes" where aero and bodywork has to be kept really simple. Those should probably be extended over the entire car; mandate flat, single plane wings front and rear.

    You want to cut downforce? Do away with endplates, or mandate that they be aerodynamically transparent. Make the underbody flat from stem to stern. No diffusers at all. Make the cars punch a big, dirty hole in the air so drafting is easier, and with less aero dependence, running close won't hurt grip, or racing or passing.

    The only thing I've been curious to explore is the opposite of AC's "super sticky tires".

    I remember reading back in the late 60s that Firestone came to Colin Chapman and said they had developed race tires that would give lots more grip, but the downside was their lifespan was considerable reduced.

    Chapman was supposedly pissed. 'You mean I'm going to have to buy TWO sets of tires per car for the season?! You're joking? Last year I could get a set to last all year long!'

    Typical Chapman, always squeezing a penny till it screamed ... but what if were were to move towards less grip, rather than more? What if F1's tires were designed to last for a long time, but maintain a given (low) level of grip throughout their lifespan. Lap 2 or lap 52, the grip level would still be the same.

    Think of it like racing in the rain: The tires always last, and the grip level is the same for everyone, and therefor, racing in the rain separates the bad drivers from the good, and great from the rest.

    That's what I would do, but what do I know?


  3. So unstable. Love it. Like a big kart.

  4. Anyone notice how different quali and race driving is? That's exactly how it is today...he's managing the car to bring it home in a race while during Quali, he's going flat out. The more things change, the more they stay the same.


nRelate Posts Only